Most of us associate anti ageing with antioxidant infused serums, vitamin C ampoules or the latest resurfacing facials but unless you are in the aesthetics business your initial thought might not be sun protection. The most damaging thing for our skin is the one thing we cannot avoid – UV light! The sun is essential for life and for the synthesis of Vitamin D through our skin which keeps us healthy but too much exposure can start to build up in our skin from an early age causing initially invisible damage which starts to rear its ugly head years later.
The epidermis (outer layer) of our skin contains melanin cells which gives the skin its colour, these cells are our in built protection mechanism from the sun which is why we tan and burn if over exposed. This is initially the damage we see but underneath the skin there is cumulative damage occurring that’s building up very slowly over the years and won’t be noticed till much later. UV light penetrates deep into the skin damaging the elastin fibers and collagen tissue, this results in premature wrinkles and sagging skin. Pigmentation and skin cancer are also types of damage to the skin cells caused from too much unprotected sun exposure.
SPF sun protection on your skin, hats and clothes along with staying out of the sun during the peak hours 10am-4pm are the best ways to protect yourself. Sunblock (SPF) come in two different forms – chemical and mineral, which is best depends on your skin condition and sensitivity.
The two mineral sunscreens are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, they work by forming a layer on the skin that reflects the rays straight off (like a mirror), the UV rays don’t get a chance to be absorbed by the skin as they are bounced straight off. The negatives with mineral sunscreens are that they can sometimes leave a white cast on the skin and can sometimes feel a little bit drying (but not all of them).
There are quite a lot of different chemical sunscreens around, they work by absorbing the UV light into the skin and then deflecting it, they also convert the rays into heat which deactivates them. It’s for this reason that people with melasma tend to prefer the mineral sunscreens over the chemical ones because melasma can be aggravated by heat.
Sunscreens are added to most day moisturisers, Primers, foundation and powders but you have to be aware of the SPF number. Anything less than SPF30 I personally think is too low, SPF 30-50 is ideal and should be worn every single day even during winter. The UV rays are strongest in summer but they are still around causing damage during cloudy days and the winter months too. You also need to make sure that you are applying enough, at least one teaspoon is recommended for the face and don’t forget to take it down the neck and chest. If you are in strong summer sun then you should consider reapplying your sunscreen because what you applied in the morning wont last you all day. Multiply the SPF number by 5 and you will have the number of minutes that you are protected for. If you wear make-up then you can get powders with SPF in them should you need to top up.
I’ve listed below some of my favourite sunscreens that I wear every day followed by the IT Cosmetics CC cream SPF50/40 as my foundation, so although I can’t increase the SPF numbers by layering two products I’ve at least got a good coverage and can see the coverage with the CC cream.
From left to right these are all mineral based SPF’s:
Clinique SPF50 is the most moisturising so works well under matte foundation and on dryer skin types.
Niod Survival SPF30 this has a nice silky texture and is loaded with antioxidants too.
Genosys SPF40 is a leading Korean skin care brand, their SPF is perfectly balanced – not too greasy and no drying effect, I use this one most frequently and also apply this after doing microneedling treatments as it’s safe for use on the skin after invasive treatments when the skin is sensitive.
Australian Gold SPF50 is slightly tinted and is a non-greasy formula so works well for combination and oily skin.
My current favourite foundation is the IT CC cream which comes in three different versions, the green tube on the left is the matte SPF40 (I find this a touch heavier coverage than the other two), the pink tube is the illuminating SPF50 its a very subtle glow but if your skin is already oily you might want to avoid the extra shine. The original one is the silver tube SPF50 I find this one my favourite. I like all of the CC creams, they colour correct redness in the skin, have a very high mineral sunscreen built in along with lots of other skin nourishing ingredients and are buildable without becoming cakey. What I noticed about this make-up compared to others is that it didn’t gather into the fine lines and open pores on the face throughout the day. If you like a full coverage then you may need to add a concealer on top as I find these more of a medium coverage. I like to finish by setting the skin with bare Minerals powder.
I hope you have found this brief guide useful and by using a foundation with a good sunscreen already built in makes it easier to incorporate SPF into your routine every day.